Leading UK specialists in conservation architecture and heritage design have been chosen to spearhead the dramatic transformation of Redfern’s Cottage, Museum of Uttoxeter Life, into a unique, regional visitor attraction and cultural centre.

Uttoxeter Heritage Trust has appointed conservation architecture practice, Donald Insall Associates and heritage interpretation and design company, Imagemakers, to work with them on the museum redevelopment project, following the receipt of £643,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the largest amount ever awarded in the East Midlands.

Donald Insall Associates have more than 50 years experience in the repair and adaptation of historic building and landmarks. These range from conservation work on castles and National Trust properties to the redevelopment of major conservation areas and the design of the new, iconic buildings.

Sarah Butler, lead architect for the project,? described the redevelopment of Redfern’s Cottage museum as exciting, enabling her team to provide the visitor attraction with new and upgraded facilities to house an innovative and engaging presentation of the museum collection.

“We will carry out work on the Grade 11 listed building, conserving key features of the building’s historic fabric. The project will also include a new kitchen and community life area within a new glass and oak extension as well as modern energy efficient heating and  security systems”, said Sarah.

Imagemakers, a design consultancy based in Devon, specialise in combining imaginative storytelling with innovative design of exhibition space to bring local heritage alive for visitors. Their work ranges from interpretation and designs for the new King Richard 111 Visitor Centre in Leicester to a complete master plan for the city of Chester as a heritage destination.

David Revell, lead designer for the museum project, said: “From time to time we are lucky enough to be selected to work on projects that reflect what we like doing most and what we are best at.

“The development of Redfern’s Cottage into an experience that will appeal to contemporary visitors is a hugely exciting opportunity for our team.  At the heart of the new museum will be a cast of characters, some familiar and some not so familiar, that will help to tell the story of Uttoxeter to visitors through exciting sound and projection technology.”

Laura Wigg-Bailey, the museum redevelopment Project Manager said she looked forward to a successful partnership with both companies.

“We were so happy that both Imagemakers and Donald Insall Associates agreed to submit a proposal following our invitation to tender as they are both highly experienced and respected practices in the heritage sector. I was even happier to be able to appoint them as I know we are in safe hands”, said Laura.

Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, Reyahn King said: Future visitors to the museum will be able to gain a deeper understanding of Uttoxeter’s rich and varied history thanks to the improved facilities and presentation of the collection.  The revitalised Redfern’s Cottage should also help to strengthen the town’s tourist economy.”